Winter Gardens and Gardening in the California Bay Area
California Sunflowers and Blue Skies
Gardening in California - How Lucky Can I Be?
I haven't been a hard core gardener for very long - but one thing I have come to realize is that I am blessed to be able to be have my garden here in in California. After reading other gardeners horror stories about freezes, droughts, tough soil and desert conditions, I realize that there is probably no better place to learn how to garden than in California. I can garden even in the winter!
Our weather is mild (well usually anyway) our conditions are favorable, and our soil is great for the most part ( I live in the SF Bay Area so my soil is just peachy) - and the best part- gardeners can pretty much garden all year round here. It's not unusual to see summer plants growing in winter, and vice versa. All the rules of gardening kind of go out the window here - so I've found that it pays to be creative and try anything at just about any time of year.
OK so now that I've got you completely jealous because of my wonderful locale - and the fact that I can garden when you might not be able to, let me back off a bit and say that I have the utmost respect for those of you that have to garden under less than favorable conditions. To me you are truly the hardcore gardeners, and my hat goes off to you!
California Nasturtiums in Winter
Gardening in the Moonlight
I started gardening in California as a kid growing up, tending plants alongside my dad, never realizing how lucky I was to be living and gardening in California (I'm a homegrown Californian) Never really being much into plants, I really never did much more gardening until my 40's, when gardening became therapy for my soul during the time my parents became ill than their subsequent deaths.
Gardening became almost an obsession for me at that point, and it would not be unusual to find me out in my garden even at night! (the only thing bad about gardening at night is those pesky critters and those not so obvious creepy crawlers!)
Armed with floodlights, I would go out into my wondrous patch of earth, and till the soil and plant bulbs with no problem under the moonlight (I'm sure my neighbors must have thought I was losing my mind by that point) Seriously though, this was when it really started to sink in how very fortunate I was to live in an area that I could garden at night - and that got me thinking about the fact that was fortunate to live in a place like California where gardening could be done at just about any time!
Daffodils in October?
As the years rolled on I came to realize that gardening in California meant that I could get away with growing things that other gardeners in other less hospitable states could not do - like growing sunflowers in November!
Last year I had a sunflower plant that had about 50 flowers on it in the middle of November.... and I almost got away with keeping it until December until a fierce wind snapped the stalk! If I had staked it up I could have probably got it to last until January (so yes - some rules of gardening do still apply to California gardeners!)
The other thing I have found is that I can start seeds at almost anytime of the year, and that I can get bulbs to grow at times they aren't supposed to (I still haven't tried Daffodils in October but that's on my to do list this year)
Try Gardening at Odd Times
I hope you have enjoyed these pictures of my California garden....and I hope that although some of you may not live in as temperate a zone as I do, maybe you will consider planting something at an odd time and see what happens! Who knows, you may get away with it and feel like your gardening in California too!
(Dorsi Diaz is a freelance writer/publisher,artist,photographer and gardener that lives in the San Francisco Bay Area. Please feel free to leave comments and subscribe to her RSS feed so you can be notified when she publishes a new article. Thanks for reading!)